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How many hours can a person work in a day in MA Michigan Massachusetts

On Lawyer & Legal » Employment & Labor Law

5,564 words with 8 Comments; publish: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 08:59:00 GMT; (80048.83, « »)


One of the managers would like to know how many hours in a day he can force an employee to work, whether it be exempt or non-exempt. He is not talking an hour or 2, he wants to know if he can force someone to work 16 hours in a day. We are in manufactoring and he wants people to work 7 days a week. Also, he is very interested in exempt people, he feels as though he can add on to their responsibilities and force them to work 12-16 hours a day- until their job is done, even if he adds to it. Please advise. This is Mass, it comes up MIchigan?

Thank you!

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    • Two states have limits on how many hours an employee can be required to work and you are not in one of them.

      Your manager can force people to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week. Non-exempts will then be getting paid 72 hours of overtime which equates to 108 hours straight time. A whole lot cheaper to hire more people. In addition, a steady diet of that much work will cause turnover to skyrocket and probably see a decline in productivity as fatigue takes its toll on the workers. You are also likely to see accidents go through the roof, driving up your worker's comp premiums for at least three years.

      Bottom line is, the manager's idea is fatally flawed, unless it is solely for a very short term to meet some unforeseen production need.

      #1; Wed, 11 Oct 2006 09:28:00 GMT
    • I have no use for employers who exploit their employees that way.

      I am in complete agreement.

      #2; Wed, 11 Oct 2006 09:44:00 GMT
    • I wouldn't stand between the employees and the door when this new "great idea" is announced to the rank and file workers.

      And so close to the holiday season, too.

      The minute an employer forces an employee to choose between his job and his family, the employer shouldn't be surprised at the decision.

      #3; Wed, 11 Oct 2006 09:37:00 GMT
    • Thank you so much for the help and all the responses. I do no agree at all with working someone that many hours. Unfortunately- what I think and what this manager thinks, are two different thoughts. I have already mentioned people will be walking out and this is not a good idea. He may not have everyone work 7 days a week, or put in 16 hours every day, but he wants to make sure he can do so, when he wants to. This will be a tough few months. I am glad I can tell him that people can't work 7 days a week, although, some have. I personally can't see making anyone work 14-16 hour days, unless it is once in a while to get one specific job completed, but not as regular business practice.

      Thanks again everyone!

      #4; Wed, 11 Oct 2006 11:39:00 GMT
    • There is no law in any state that limits the number of hours any employee, exempt or non-exempt, can be required to work in a day. Maine and California are the only states that have any laws addressing the number of hours that can be required in a week or a pay period.

      MA has a limited one-day-of-rest-in-seven law but I would have to do further research to see if it applies to manufacturing, unless someone else knows off the top.

      With that one possible exception, he could conceivably require employees, both exempt and non-exempt, to work 24 hours a day six and possibly seven days a week. However, the fact that he CAN require it does not by a very long shot mean that he should. Working that many hours constantly can have a very negative affect on safety. Unless he wants to see his workers comp rates skyrocket, he should rethink his position.

      Before he adds to the duties of an exempt employee so that he can work them extra hours without paying for it, he should also make very damn sure first, that they're actually exempt and not-misclassified (otherwise when they file for back overtime he'll be in the hole a whole lot deeper) and also that he can afford to lose them when they walk off the job.

      I have no use for employers who exploit their employees that way.

      #5; Wed, 11 Oct 2006 09:32:00 GMT
    • That was it, Scott, and it looks as if manufacturing is included. I remembered mercantile but wasn't sure of the rest since I've never worked in any of the requisite industries.
      #6; Wed, 11 Oct 2006 11:49:00 GMT
    • Is this what you referred to, cbg?

      Chapter 149: Section 48. One day of rest in seven; operation of business on Sunday; violations

      Section 48. Every employer of labor engaged in carrying on any manufacturing, mechanical or mercantile establishment or workshop in the commonwealth shall allow every person, except those specified in section fifty, but including watchmen and employees maintaining fires, employed in such manufacturing, mechanical or mercantile establishment or workshop at least twenty-four consecutive hours of rest, which shall include an unbroken period comprising the hours between eight oclock in the morning and five oclock in the evening, in every seven consecutive days. No employer shall operate any such manufacturing, mechanical or mercantile establishment or workshop on Sunday unless he has complied with section fifty-one. Whoever violates this section shall be punished by a fine of three hundred dollars.

      Looks to me like it applies to manufacturing and that would put a crimp in the misguided plans of that manager. Maybe he could make up for the lost 16 hours of work increasing the work on the other days from 16 to 18.75.

      #7; Wed, 11 Oct 2006 10:49:00 GMT
    • Jen, it looks like, from your last post, that your manager is not the ogre we have made him out to be, but wants to know what his legal limits are. I have no problem with that.

      Voluntary overtime works best.

      Explaining WHY mandatory overtime is needed helps lessen the pain when such is required. Many employees will work hard and long, if they see the need.

      #8; Wed, 11 Oct 2006 13:51:00 GMT